Overview

Founded: 2006

# of Students Served: 200+

# of Advisers Served: 20+

# of Schools Served: 13 and counting

Outreach Areas: We focus on the greater Los Angeles area; however, we have worked with exceptional schools in Oakland, CA, and Washington, D.C.

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Mission

Our mission: To support journalism education and student media for at-risk youth.

Here’s why: Students with journalism experience achieve better grades in high school, higher standardized test scores, and better grades in college English classes than peers without journalism experience. For students of color, the impacts of journalism participation are even greater. According to a landmark 2008 study, student journalists of color out-performed non-journalist peers of color in the following areas:
  • High school overall grade point average
  • High school English grade
  • High school social studies grade
  • High school science grade
  • High school mathematics grade
  • High school foreign language grade
  • High school art grade
  • ACT Composite score
  • ACT English score
  • ACT Reading score
  • ACT Science score
  • College freshman English grade
Journalism participation also fosters students’ development of media literacy, capacity for telling and circulating local stories, interest in civic engagement, and access to an intellectual community of practice. Numerous studies corroborate these findings. Student journalism matters. Please note, this research was conducted by Student Voice Project Advisory Board member Dr. Jack Dvorak on behalf of the Newspaper Association of America Foundation. Dvorak examined data on 31,000+ American high school students.
journalism matters

Vision

OUR VISION: All students excelling as readers, writers, and critical thinkers.

How can participation in journalism catalyze these changes?

According to a 2014 report commissioned by the National Council for the Training of Journalists, effective journalism education develops participants’ literacy, communication, and critical thinking skills.

Decades of educational research have demonstrated the power of literacy, communication, and critical thinking skills. The stronger a student’s skills in these areas, the greater a student’s prospects — academically, professionally, and socially. Therefore, journalism participation can help students to thrive, both in the short-term and and in the long-term.

Additionally, journalism offers students meaningful ways to enrich their careers and their communities.

Take Felix Ruano, former editor-in-chief of The Ambassador School for Global Leadership’s newspaper.

Said Ruano, “The student newspaper gave me that platform where I could have the courage to reach out to police officers, school officials, community members…”

These critical conversations informed Ruano’s award-winning exposé of the Los Angeles Police Department’s truancy ticketing practices.
journalism matters

“Everybody knew about it but no one was talking about it,” said Ruano, referring to the officers’ tendency to disproportionately target Los Angeles Unified School District’s African American and Latino students. Ruano’s empirical investigation motivated city-wide dialogue.

Ruano was selected as a Gates Millennium Scholar and named to Pacific Standard‘s “Top 30 Thinkers Under 30” list. Now a sophomore at Harvard University, this self-described entrepreneur considers running for office. “I want to make a dent in the world,” said Ruano, “whether it is by disruptive innovation or helping scale a powerful idea. I am a young man willing to take on some of the world’s toughest challenges.

Ruano is just one of the more than 200 students whom the Student Voice Project has supported, and every student has a story.

What if more young people had the opportunity to participate in journalism? Imagine what might happen…

Affiliation

In October 2014, the Student Voice Project affiliated with the USC Dornsife Joint Educational Project (JEP), one of the oldest and largest service-learning programs in the country.

“We are delighted to be associated with USC and to have the SVP on campus at JEP,” said Chris Fager, SVP Board Chair.

Said Tammara Anderson, Executive Director of JEP, “I am pleased that the Student Voice Project will be affiliated with JEP. Our programs are so closely aligned — both working in our urban neighborhood schools. I am confident and enthusiastic about the work we can accomplish together. The JEP staff looks forward to working with the Student Voice Project!”

JEP house

About the Joint Educational Project

The Joint Educational Project (JEP) is a one of the oldest and largest service-learning programs in the country. Based in the Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences, JEP is designed to serve as a broker between academic courses and schools and service agencies in the community surrounding USC’s main campus. JEP seeks to foster the intellectual, social and ethical development of USC students while providing much needed services for community organizations. Guiding our work is the principle that community service can be connected to classroom learning in such a way that service is more informed by theoretical and conceptual understanding and learning is more informed by the realities of the world. Each year, JEP places some 2000 students in the neighborhood as mentors, mini-course instructors, translators and assistants to teachers, hospital staff members and other helping professionals.

In addition to its service-learning programs connected to Dornsife courses (primarily), JEP also houses the Trojan Health Volunteers Program (THV), a program that offers pre-health students the opportunity to obtain valuable volunteering experience in Los Angeles area hospital and clinical settings, and an America Reads/America Counts program, coined USC ReadersPlus, which hires and places work-study students in seven of the closest schools to USC’s University Park Campus. Readers and math mentors (USC students) assist neighborhood K-5 children in improving their reading and math skills as well as their academic confidence.

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Student Voice Project | USC Dornsife Joint Educational Project | 801 W. 34th Street | Los Angeles, CA 90089